There’s a hundred meters of twisty little passages between the rec room and the supply closet Vantas has appropriated as his own personal stash-heap-slash-solitude-bunker, and he holds your hand all the way.
This is, as you are painfully aware, approximately three thousand percent gayer than a good honest dick-sucking between pals. The rigorous mathematics of identity demand a sacrificial calculation; detach, deflect, multiply by zero. Commit to the bit. Hold that sweaty little paw right back. Straightforward earnestness is the highest form of irony. He said “flushed,” didn’t he. Shit.
He’s fumbling with the combination on the key-pad door lock now, clearly he needs his dominant hand back from out of your thoroughly textually interrogated grasp, and you can feel how reluctant he is to let you go. What if you just, like, lean up against his back, maybe get your thumbs back into the base of his horns, just to fuck with him a little. Breathe into the back of his neck and watch him punch in another wrong number, muttering some perilously filthy invection. He’s not actually all that much shorter than you are, he’s just such a crackling ball of tsundere white noise that you sometimes forget.
The door slides open, and you tumble into the room, enjoying his furtive and futile attempts to get rid of the worst of the mess with one foot. Clearly he wasn’t expecting company.
Okay, so there’s no bed. Okay. Okay. He must sleep in that weird steel horse-tank-looking thing, which is full of…best not to contemplate. Are you going to have to get in there? Like hell you are.
“Dave,” he says, with a new tone in his voice, subwoofer turned up to eleven, and then your back is against the wall, he’s pressed up against every available slice of primo Strider beachfront real estate. Something way down in your gut does a languid deep-dive, low and slow, and that’s what keeps you from riding the express train to Freakout City when he finally, finally kisses you.
He’s not Terezi. Let’s be real, nobody is. But you weren’t sure, you never were, how much of that exactingly predatory trip she laid on you was her, and how much was just alien shit you didn’t understand. The most potent hours of your short life thus far have been spent with your back to a bolt-studded steel wall like this one, trying not to move, not to breathe. Her examinations always stopped tragically short of your hopes and fears, but she was rigorous, she was thorough, she never once relinquished the upper hand. There was only ever a little bit of blood.
This guy, though: less tongue, more mouth. He’s being careful with his teeth, or trying to, anyway. You can tell he’d like to bite you. You decide that’s probably universal with these jerks; you’ve witnessed enough makeout crime scenes. Rose has become fond of high necklines, of late.
Oh god. There. There it is, and it sends a river of ice down your spine, just like the first time. He’s leaning into you, breathing your breath, tracing some deliberate pattern into your scalp with his claws, right where your horns would be if you had any — and that’s all well and good, because further down, where he’s got you pinned hip to hip, you can feel something move, you can feel it slither. You were never entirely clear on what, precisely, that was all about, and you weren’t about to ask. There’s something stochastic about it, something utterly primal and involuntary, and the worst part of it is, it feels good.
His hands on you suddenly go uncertain. “Are you. Is that. Oh fuck. Are you into this? I don’t, I don’t know if. I mean, you’re not,” he says, miserably failing to communicate the point. “I can’t tell.”
This is hilarious, given your regrettably obvious boner. Obvious to you, anyway. Saddle up, cowboy, it’s cultural exchange time. At least with this guy you can talk about it.
If you were wired for good old healthy dialogue, that is.
“Yeah no I’m not feeling this at all, that’s obviously why my wackass human junk is at this point visible from space,” you say, voice cracking a little. It fails to reassure. You catch him furtively glancing southward, and you reflect that there is a distinctly nonzero probability that he is in fact expecting it to glow. Back up. Try again.
“I, uh,” you say, feeling horribly exposed. “Is it supposed to, like, move? Is that how it works?”
You feel him exhale against you — maybe relief, maybe disappointment, maybe a little bit of both. “Yeah,” he mutters, clearly just as mortified as you are. “I guess you didn’t—” He stops, realizing he’s probably approaching a no-fly zone.
“Yeah, we didn’t get that far,” you mumble into his hair. “Just tell me how it works, okay, take me to school, draw me a fucking flowchart. I gotta pass Getting Aliens Off 101 or I’m never gonna graduate, Vantas, help a dumbass out, bro, I got nothing.”
You can see him struggling to process this. “Do you — do you guys do things to each other? It’s not really something we do,” he says, miserably. “It just sort of happens.”
“Am I getting this right, you’re not moving that thing on purpose?” You press your hips against him, set your teeth against panic. You can feel it clearer now. You’re not sure how you feel about the word “writhing,” but there you have it.
He laughs, he actually laughs. “On purpose? That’s some porn shit,” he says. “I wish. Can you?”
Now it’s your turn to laugh. This is objectively hilarious. “Ha, no, mine doesn’t move at all. On its own, anyway.” Your hands slide down his back, you take a hold of his hips and slow-roll against him. He freezes up abruptly, just like Terezi did once upon a time, and you stop. Shit.
“That’s…what you do instead? Move your whole body?” he says, plainly terrified, gamely trying as hard as you are to be down for whatever.
Now you get it. You’d like to fire up the timetables, pay the clueless Dave Strider of six months ago a visit, maybe drop the knowledge that his allegedly smooth moves aren’t over the speed limit, they’re just…not in the rules of the road. At all.
How is it possible for a guy to be this fucking dense, you ask yourself, rhetorically. You don’t get an answer from your inner voice, because what’s happening now is that Karkat has discovered that, in lieu of having any horns to fondle, you really really like having the back of your neck messed with. It fills you with boundless dumbness.
“Dude,” you breathe, sounding like an outrageous douche, “let’s just try it your way, do what you gotta do, I’m down. I volunteer as tribute.” His claws on the nape of your neck, gentler than he wants to be, ah. “Let me know if I do anything wrong, I’ll stop, okay?”
He nods, face buried in your throat, and relaxes a little. There’s a brief moment of confusion while you silently sort out who’s responsible for whose clothes; you settle on undoing his jeans while he tugs at your knightly knitwear.
“I don’t know if this’ll even fucking work,” he says.
“Just don’t hurt me, okay,” you blurt out, flushing hot with shame.
“I won’t, I won’t,” he says. “Let me just — just let me —“
He doesn’t finish the sentence. He’s holding you loosely by the shoulders, body a little apart from yours, when you feel the first touch. Something slender and strong and questing. A tendril, a vine.
You’re not going to look. You can’t not. It’s mercifully dim. Light silvers the edge of — something.
“I’ve got you,” he says, low and choking, and he does, you are being drawn down a millimeter at a time into pulsing, spiraling traction. His body settles against you, absolutely still.
It’s agonizingly difficult not to move, but you don’t want to scare him. You hold still as minutes tick by, your pulse an aching hammer clasped and enfolded in sweet, warm, living darkness. He’s panting a little, helplessly, breathing in time to the pull and release of the inexorable coil that’s working its way down to the root of you. There’s a sense of something sliding into heavy bloom, a slick fat loop turning and unfurling to reveal some new texture beneath and within — and now, now it takes all your willpower not to, as Salt ’n Pepa saith so eloquently, push it.
He clings to you, as frustrated as you are. “Dave,” he moans, digging his claws into your back.
You’re just guessing here. You reach one hand down, heart in mouth, blinking back fear of his strangeness, and stroke a slow path along the coil that has you deep in its clutches. You find a spot at the base, like a juncture leading down into dark velvet heat, and curl your fingers around and into it, squeezing and releasing.
From the sounds he makes when you start really finding your stride, you can infer that this is pretty much the most porntastic thing that’s ever happened to him. There’s a glitch, and a gasp, and then — well, at least now you know they do that, too. Copiously.
“I’m sorry,” he blurts, but you’re not, not in the least.
You’re pretty sure you’re going to figure this out.